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The Steelers have always had pass/run game coordinators, but have never made the titles official

Who held these titles in 2019, and who will hold them in 2020?

Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers president Art Rooney II met with the local Pittsburgh media on Wednesday for his annual end of the season interview. One topic which was mentioned by Rooney was how the Steelers have always had run game and pass game coordinators who developed game plans to submit to the offensive coordinator each week. Although the Steelers did not have any coaches with those official titles, they still held these responsibilities.

Earlier this season, a statement was made by NFL analyst and former Steeler Ryan Clark about Mike Munchak being the Steelers’ run game coordinator in 2018. Since the Steelers do not announce who is their run coordinator or their passing coordinator, it begs the question as to who filled these roles in 2019.

To figure out who may have been responsible for these key positions, here is a list of the Steelers 2019 offensive coaches:

Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks – Randy Fichtner
Running backs – Eddie Faulkner
Interim wide receivers – Ray Sherman
Tight ends – James Daniel
Offensive line – Shaun Sarrett
Assistant offensive line – Adrian Klemm

It might also be important to list the other general assistant coaches for the Steelers for 2019. They were:

Denzel Martin – coaching assistant
Blaine Stewart - coaching assistant
Matt Symmes - coaching assistant
William Gay - coaching intern

The reason to include these four coaches just in case is because it was reported Blaine Stewart was basically acting as a quarterbacks coach in 2019. With the Steelers hiring Matt Canada on Wednesday, it is unclear what responsibilities Stewart will be assigned in 2020.

So who fulfilled these duties in 2019?

Run game coordinator

In looking at the Steelers 2019 offensive coaches, the only ones who seem to be viable candidates for the run game other than offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner would be first-year running backs coach Eddie Faulkner or first-year offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett. Granted Sarrett had five years with the Steelers prior to being promoted, it was his first year as the line coach while Faulkner’s previous experience came at the college level.

Although it seems neither coach was a prime candidate for the position, I’m going to have to go with Faulkner being the guy. Supposedly it was his idea to first use the wildcat in Week 4 against the Cincinnati Bengals. With no other reports of of Sarrett’s involvement, I’m taking a shot in the dark with Faulkner being the run game coordinator. With no other additions to the coaching staff at this point, it would appear that whoever had the responsibility last season may still be the one getting the call in 2020.

Passing game coordinator

The two options for who was responsible for the passing game would appear to be tight ends coach James Daniel or interim wide receivers coach Ray Sherman. It wouldn’t be out of the question for another assistant coach to be involved, but to be responsible for the Steelers passing attack would probably bring a more glorified title then coaching assistant.

While coach James Daniel could be someone who helped develop the passing attack, the lack of use of the tight ends in 2019 would not give much of an indication their position coach was planning that part of the the offense. Therefore it was most likely Ray Sherman who was developing a passing game plan to present to coach Fichtner.

When it comes to the 2020 season, new quarterbacks coach Matt Canada would be a prime candidate to develop the Steelers passing game plan. With experience as an offensive coordinator in college for more than a decade, it seems to be something which could be right up his alley.

Knowing the Steelers have official pass/run game coordinators, it begs the question is if the Steelers were making more changes to start the 2019 season then what most fans realized. It was already reported Mike Munchak was the run game coordinator, but were the Steelers dealing with the loss of their passing game coordinator in training camp as well? When wide receivers coach Darryl Drake passed away suddenly, was he filling even more of a role than what most fans realized?

Now that Art Rooney II has announced the Steelers have these coordinators in function but not in title, questions may be asked more often about the subject in order to better determine which coach is actually helping to devise these game plans. Regardless of who is assigned these responsibilities, ultimately the implementation and use of both the rushing and passing attack come down to offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner.